Child care assistance
Daycare/child care/early learning programs can cost a lot, sometimes even as much as rent or your mortgage! Pennsylvania has free programs for eligible families as well as financial help for child care..
- Child Care Works (CCIS) – help to pay for child care
- Child care scholarships
- Free home visiting family support programs for pregnant moms, infants and toddlers
- Free pre-kindergarten programs
- Pre-K EITC (Educational Improvement Tax Credit) scholarships
- Check out the Early Learning GPS to search for other local resources like free parenting/ adult education classes, food pantries, and other assistance. Create a free family account and map for your child and click on “Search/Saved Resources.” Click on the search icon in the upper right corner to search for resources by keyword or county. You can also go to the lower right of the home page and click “Search Local Resources.”
Here are some resources that can help you make ends meet. If you know of others that we can share, please email us!
Child Care Works (CCIS)
Child Care Works, sometimes called CCIS, provides financial help to families for daycare/ child care. To be eligible:
- You must live in Pennsylvania
- Have a child or children who need child care while you work or attend an education program
- Meet income guidelines for your family size (generally, 200% of the federal poverty level)
- Work 20 or more hours a week – or- Work 10 hours and go to school or train for 10 hours a week
- Have a promise of a job that will start within 30 days of your application for subsidized child care
- Teen parents must attend an education program
- The child who needs care must be a citizen of the United States or an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residency
- Have proof of identification for each parent or caretaker in the home.
- Find out if you are eligible
Families may choose any child care program that accepts Child Care Works or a relative/neighbor provider that has completed CareCheck and federal criminal history clearance. Families pay a co-pay based on their income, and Child Care Works provides a subsidy to the child care program. Child care programs may charge fees that aren’t covered by Child Care Works, so be sure to ask the program about any fees when you visit or call about space.
You can sign up online at the COMPASS website (you can also sign up for programs like SNAP food stamps or LIHEAP energy assistance) or visit your local Child Care Information Services (CCIS) agency. Your CCIS can help you pick the right child care program for your family.
Child care scholarships
Home visiting family support programs free to families
Pennsylvania offers free help for pregnant moms, infants and toddlers at home. A home visitor helps families understand things like nutrition, child health and ways to help your child develop. Three of these programs are Early Head Start, Nurse-Family Partnership, and Parents as Teachers. Visit the Home Visiting page to learn more.
Pre-kindergarten programs free to families
Pennsylvania offers two pre-kindergarten programs free to families…
Head Start services support both the child’s development and a healthy family. Families earning up to 100% of poverty may apply. Contact your local Head Start agency to apply.
Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts provides free high quality pre-kindergarten. Full- and half-day classes are available in schools, Head Start, child care and nursery schools. Families earning up to 300% of poverty may apply. If your child is also learning English as a second language or has a disability, he/she may receive priority in enrollment.
To find PA Pre-K Counts programs in your community, visit the program search section of the COMPASS website. The website will ask you the age of your child and then provide a list of programs that serve children that age. Keep the PA Pre-K Counts button checked and continue entering information about your preferences. You will then receive a list of programs that met your search criteria. Contact programs directly for enrollment information and openings.
Pre-K EITC (Educational Improvement Tax Credit) scholarships
Through the Pre-K EITC program, companies donate money for pre-kindergarten scholarships in return for a tax credit. Contact the scholarship organizations in your area to find out what programs participate and how to apply for scholarships.